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Thursday May 24th

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Music for Viola & Piano - Paul Neubauer (viola) Margo Garrett (piano) rec. 2001 DELOS DE3498 [56:27] [RB] Compulsory listening for Bloch or viola enthusiasts.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 8 & 9 - NDR SO Hamburg/Günter Wand rec. 1987/8 SONY SICC1813-4 [79:59 + 69:35] [RMo] Some reservations, but I can understand why these two accounts have their adherents.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas, Zapateado, Valses poéticos, Allegro de concierto - Xiayin Wang (piano) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10995 [69.25] [RBe] Superb playing from Wang.

Kara KARAYEV (1918–1982) Symphony No. 1, Violin Concerto - Janna Gandelman (violin) Kiev Virtuosi SO/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573722 [54:43] [NB] An interesting but not invaluable disc.

Arthur Fiedler (conductor) Fiedler Encores - Boston Pops O/Arthur Fiedler rec. 1977/8 ELOQUENCE 482 8792 [79:06] [RMay] Pleasant enough listening, but hardly an essential purchase.

Duo Gazzana Works by Ravel, Franck, Ligeti & Messiaen rec. 2017 ECM NEW SERIES 2556 (4816781) [55:26] [DC] Spacious and attractive, a fine programme.

Hunting Music of Old Czech Masters Works by Družecký, Vent & Vranický - Collegium Musicum Pragensae, Prague SO/František Vajnar rec. 1970/71 SUPRAPHON SU4228-2 [57:11] [DBi] A very unusual reissue of classical works in excellent performances and recordings from the Supraphon archive.

Inspiration finnes deri Works by Andrée & Hĺkanson - Klarkvartetten, Mats Persson (baritone), Solveig Wikman (piano), Dieter Schöning (violin) ALTFIOL I VÄST AIVCD008 [69:33] [SSi] A most enterprising and interesting disc, which I have enjoyed immensely.

Irina Muresanu (violin) Four Strings Around the World rec. 2017 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92221 [76:10] [JW] Certainly plenty of variety here.

 Nature and The Soul Latvian Radio Ch/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2016 SKANI 054 [58:48] [WH] One of the world’s finest choirs in superbly adapted repertoire.

Wednesday May 23rd

Wilhelm BERGER (1861-1911) Piano sonata; Variations and Fugue - Mitsuko Saruwatari (piano) rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1599 [64:04] [DC]  Roll-up here for undeservingly undiscovered Romantic piano works.

Lūcija GARŪTA (1902-1977) Music for Piano - Reinis Zariņš (piano) Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala SKANI 056 [73:22] [EJW] An interesting and very welcome CD of hitherto unrecorded music by this important female Latvian composer of the mid 20th Century.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Mass for Double Choir, Songs of Ariel Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Four Songs of the Virgin Mary, Romance of the Dandelions - Danish Ntl Vocal Ens/Marcus Creed rec. 2017 OUR RECORDINGS SACD 6.220671 [64:13] [LW] Exemplary accounts of Martin and Martinů a cappella works.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete String Quartets - Leipzig String Qt rec. 1999-2017 MDG 3072066-2 [8 CDs: 528:37] [SG] Well-recorded performances, enthusiastically endorsed for those wanting a complete cycle.

Heinrich SCHEIDEMANN (c. 1595-1663) Complete Organ works - Friedhelm Flamme (organ) rec. 2009 CPO 777 562-2 SACD [62:30] [JV] The repertoire is excellent, but as before with this performer, I have some reservations about the interpretations.

Imre SZÉCHÉNYI (1825-1898) Complete Dances for Orchestra - Budapest Symphony MÁV/Valéria Csányi rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573807 [72:02] [RB] Some loveable silver dances and well worth rescuing.

Calen-o: Songs from the North of Ireland Carolyn Dobbin (mezzo soprano), Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2017(?) DELPHIAN DCD34187 [56:22] [JW] A few reservations, but in general, these are fine performances of rare songs.

Interactions Works by Valen, Stravinsky & Lutosławski - Bĺrd Monsen (violin) Gunnar Flagstad (piano) rec. 2016 2L 2L-137-SABD BD-A & SACD [51:29] [DBi] A fine issue including a rare Valen work alongside the more familiar Lutosławski and Stravinsky.

Latin Winds Works by Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos & Chávez - Royal Northern College of Music Wind O/Clark Rundell, Mark Heron rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10975 [66:18] [GPJ] Unfamiliar but hugely entertaining and rewarding works from Spain and Latin America.

Narciso Yepes (guitar) The Art of Narciso Yepes: Lectures on Mastery of the Guitar rec.1970 SFM SFMDVD223 [2 DVDs: 150 mins] [ZT] If you are a collector of historically important guitar material, this DVD set is a must, but not if you want to hear Nepes at his best.

Tuesday May 22nd

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto Nos 2 & 4 - Royal Northern Sinf/Lars Vogt (piano) rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1311-2 [62:16] [MG] Vogt reveals with equal clarity Beethoven’s charm, poetry, power and passion, in all of which soloist and orchestra glow and blend.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete symphonies - Scottish CO/Robin Ticciati rec. 2017 LINN CKD601 [78:09 + 74:07] [JQ] Robin Ticciati bids au revoir to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900165 [80.07] [MC] A remarkably convincing reading which deserves a prominent place on any list of recommended recordings of this symphony.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) & Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Cello Concertos - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Konzerthaus O Berlin/Nicholas Minton rec. 2016 CPO 555 074-2 [65:39] [MC] This album may only appeal to the most avid collector of rare cello concertos.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Cantates et musique sacrée - Flemish Radio Ch, Brussels PO/Hervé Niquet rec. 2016/7 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1030 [59:41 + 68:50] [MB] Superb performances; part of an admirable and immensely valuable project.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Serenade - Liza Ferschtman (violin) Prague SO/Jiří Malát, Het Gelders O/Christian Vásquez rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72755 SACD [58:21] [NB] A qualified welcome for this new disc; the Bernstein certainly gets a fine performance.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de pčlerinage: Suisse - Francesco Piemontesi (piano) rec. 2017 ORFEO C944182I [55:00] [DM] Outstanding performances, perfectly pitched and beautifully caught; Piemontesi is a pianist to watch.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 - Südwestfunk-O Baden-Baden/Kiril Kondrashin rec. 1981 SWR MUSIC SWR19416CD [68:24] [TB] A performance in which the whole experience generates rather less than the sum of the parts.

Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946) Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 - Filharmonii Poznańskiej SO/Łukasz Borowicz DUX 1446 [73:19] Orchestral works - Filharmonii Opolskiej SO/Przemysław Neumann DUX 1425 [77:51] Masses - Olsztyn Chamber Ch, Olsztyn SO/Janusz Przybylski DUX 0683 [67:40] Quo Vadis - Górecki Chamber Ch; Warmińsko-Mazurskiej Filharmonii SO/Piotr Sułkowski rec. 2014-17 DUX 1327/8 [64:55 + 31:05] [RB] Some of the various faces of this intriguing composer and surely more to come.

Lauri PORRA (b.1977) Kohta, Domino Suite, Entropia –  Paperi T (vocals) Joonas Riippa (drums) Aki Rissanen (piano) Lauri Porra (electric bass) Lahti SO/Jaakko Kuusisto rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2305 SACD [83:18] [RHa] Three fascinating ‘concertante’ scores from a genre-bending Finn, superbly recorded by BIS.

Monday May 21st 

John Luther ADAMS (b. 1953) Four Thousand Holes Michael PISARO (b. 1961) Floating, drifting - Ian Pace (piano), Simon Limbrick (percussion) rec. 2017 LOUTH CONTEMPORARY MUSIC SOCIETY LCMS1701 [68:55] [JW] Well performed, but the Pisaro is interminable.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto - Janine Andrade (violin), Hamburg Pro Musica/Hans-Jürgen Walther rec. c. 1959 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1370 [76:20] [SG] Two valuable documents making a welcome comeback to the catalogue in superb restorations, though I do have strong reservations regarding the Tchaikovsky.

David DIAMOND (1915–2005) Symphony No. 6, Rounds, Romeo & Juliet - Indiana University CO & PO/Arthur Fagen rec. 2016/17 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559842 [65:00] [RB] Music and readings that are telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded.

Duarte LOBO (c1565-1646) Missa Vox clamantis Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (c1548-1611) Missa Semile est regnum caelorum Sebastián de VIVANCO (c1551-1622) Magnificat - Truro Cathedral Ch/Christopher Gray, Luke Bond (organ) rec. 2016 REGENT REGCD491 [61:32] [JV] If you love choral music of the Renaissance, this is a disc you should not miss.

Amanda MAIER (1853-1894) Preludes Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Julklapp! & Neckens Polska Amanda MAIER & Julius RÖNTGEN Zwiegespräche - Bengt Forsberg (piano, organ), Hanna Aberg (voice), Cecilia Zilliacus (violin) DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD185 [69:27] [SSi] An excellent addition to the growing discography of this married couple.

Johann Melchior MOLTER (1696-1765) Sinfonias & Cantatas - Julia Sophie Wagner (soprano) Reuss CO/Werner Ehrhardt rec. 2015 CPO 5550282 [72:27] [CRo] A welcome addition to the slender discography of Molter’s output.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Piano Quartets - Kuijken Piano Qt rec. 2016 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72758 SACD [66.34] [RBe] Intensely musical performances.

Gráinne MULVEY (b. 1966) Aeolus Christopher FOX (b.1955) untouch rec. 2017 METIER MDS29006 [24:20] [JF] Something different, but still enjoyable.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Elégie - A Heart in Exile - Lucy Parham (piano), Henry Goodman (narrator) rec. 2017 DEUX-ELLES DXL1178 [56:16 + 48:47] [RWe] A fascinating exploration of the mighty Russian’s eventful life, strong opinions and superb piano music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - Royal Liverpool PO/Andrew Manze rec. 2017 ONYX 4184 [70:12] [WH] Those who collect Manze’s Vaughan Williams cycle can hardly go wrong, even if other performances of either symphony are more satisfying.

Other reviews
Flčche
by Tony Scotland publ. 2018 Shelf Lives [JF] An attractive short read, which will appeal particularly to those with an enthusiasm for Lennox Berkeley.

Friday May 18th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Secular Cantatas Vol. 9 - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2016 BIS BIS2311 SACD [80.53] [SG] Those who have been steadfastly collecting this magnificent Suzuki cycle will no doubt be keen to bag this one.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952) Piano Concertos No. 2 & 3 - Stefan Doniga (piano), Janáček PO/David Porcelijn rec. 2008 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10146 [58:18] [EJW] I hope that lovers of late Romantic piano concertos will rush out and buy this.

Francesco GEMINIANI (1687-1762) Concerto grosso No. 12, La forest enchantée George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759) Dietro l'orme fugaci - Robin Johannsen (soprano), Les Passions de l'Âme, Meret Lüthi rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985438432 [60:08] [JV] This disc deserves a wholehearted welcome.

Lejaren HILLER (1924-1994) Sonatas for Violin and Piano - Conrad Harris (violin), Joseph Kubera (piano) rec. 2017 NEW WORLD 80799-2 [52:04] [RB] Good to be ushered in to the least notorious aspect of Hiller's legacy; even so it's neither soft-centred nor simplistically welcoming.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2, Violin Sonata - Ilya Gringolts (violin) Daniel Haefliger (cello) Gilles Vonsattel (piano) rec. 2015 CLAVES CD 50-1817 [68:09] [NB] Compelling and impressive performances from a dedicated and committed team of star players.

Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846-1916) The Last Songs - Duo Alterno rec. 2017 URANIA RECORDS LDV14033 [75:01] [GF] Regrettably I wasn’t able to foster more enthusiasm for this issue; it feels like a golden opportunity sadly wasted.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Maria Luisa Fanelli (soprano), Irene Minghini-Cattaneo (mezzo-soprano), Franco Lo Giudice (tenor), Ezio Pinza (bass), Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Carlo Sabajno rec. 1929 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO148 [77:34] [RMo] A recording of undoubted historical significance.

Concertante! Works by Danzi, Mozart, Devienne & Pleyel - Les Vents Français, Munich CO/Daniel Giglberger rec. 2017 WARNER CLASSICS 9029570487 [52:03 + 65:37] [MC] A vivid exploration of fascinating music.

Elgar – The Man Behind The Mask A film by John Bridcut rec. 2009/10 CRUX PRODUCTIONS CRUXGZ002DVD [90 mins] [IL] A profound examination of the man and his music one that viewers can return to again and again.

Forgotten Polish Music for Four Hands Works by Szymanowska, Chopin, Mikuli, Zarębski, Kurpiński & Paderewski - Maria Szymanowska Piano Duo rec. 2017 DUX 1433 [48:32] [MBu] Timepieces of historic value and listenability.

 




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